Some of the conversations you had with people leave indelible imprints in your mind. This was one of them.
Around ten years back, I was in a conference in Germany, where I met a guy from Netherlands. He asked shaking my hand, “What is your name?”
I answered, “Amar and yours”.
He replied, “Gert from Netherlands”, and he continued with a question, “Where are you from?”
I immediately with full enthusiasm replied, “From Nepal”. I can already make out from his eyes as with many people I have met before royal massacre and Maoist’s struggle, he did not have any idea where it was located.
So, I went at length bragging about Everest and Buddha. He said he didn’t know, and in fact he was under the impression Everest was in Tibet and Buddha was from India.
Then suddenly the conversation turned into appearances.
I said,” My looks are between Indian and Chinese.”
Instead of “Oh yeah, I can see”, to my utter surprise, he replied very firmly, “No, you look like a Neplali”. I again tried to open my mouth, but he interrupted, “you look like a Neplali”, with the same firmness in his eyes.
Same type of incidents happened two or three times with different people in Europe.
I learnt my lesson, and stopped identifying myself through Indian and Chinese.
And, whenever there were discussions regarding appearances, I was extremely happy to say, “I look like a Nepali”.